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Review: The Warrior by Margaret Mallory

24 Oct

4 out of 5 scoopers

The Warrior by Margaret Mallory
Grand Central Publishing (Oct. 30, 2012)
Mass market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9780446583091

Favorite Lines: “Moira lied instinctively to protect her son, but she did not regret it. Duncan did not deserve the truth. After living with Sean, Ragnall was hungry for a man he could look up to. He would take to this big man who had a quiet strength and the fighting skills of the warrior of legend. She would never give Duncan the power to disappoint Ragnall as he had her.” (p. 81, e-galley)

From the Isle of Skye to the battlefields of France, Duncan MacDonald has never escaped the memory of the true love he left behind. Deemed unworthy of a chieftain’s daughter, Duncan abandoned the lovely Moira to prove his worth in battle. Now, when called upon to rescue her from a rival clan, one thing is certain: Moira’s pull on his heart is stronger than ever.

Bartered away in marriage to a violent man, Moira will do anything to ensure she and her son survive. When a rugged warrior arrives to save her, the desperate beauty thinks her prayers have been answered-until she realizes it’s Duncan. The man who once broke her heart is now her only hope. Moira vows never again to give herself-or reveal her secrets-to the fierce warrior, but as they race across the sea, danger and desire draw them ever closer.

Combine Scottish highlanders and the high seas and you’ve got the men who make up Margaret Mallory‘s Return of the Highlanders series. The Warrior is book three out of the four which make up the series. I’ve read every book so far and each can be read as a stand alone. So far I’ve found each book to give just enough information about the next book’s hero to entice me to read it.

The Warrior follows the Chieftain Connor’s best friend Duncan as he finds love with Connor’s sister, Moira. The two were lovers before Moira’s father split them up and their reunion will reignite the passion of the past. As the former lovers learn to trust one another and discover the truth about their separation, outside forces threaten to ruin their entire clan.

Duncan is a steadfast man who would never betray his friends and family, so it really bothered me that the woman he loved didn’t see those characteristics in him. Moira lusted after him, but didn’t trust him enough to tell him her secret. When given the opportunity she lied. It made me think less of her. Everyone remembered her as a spoiled little princess and she lived up to that label by being self-absorbed. Had she removed the blinders from her own face and chosen to believe in Duncan’s trustworthiness I would have rooted for her happiness. As it was, I wanted Duncan happy and since he wanted her…I accepted it.

Family is a running theme in the book. There are the relationships between parents and children, siblings and lovers being explored. Some were doomed before they began. Others are just beginning. All have an impact on building the different people introduced in the story.

Unlike The Sinner, most of the moments that stick with me from The Warrior take place on land. Like when Moira and Duncan physically reunite, when Duncan figures out Moira’s big secret and when Moira sees her family again, all of it is on land. Don’t get me wrong. There was a lot of movement during the story which is when water and boats came into play. From Scotland to Ireland to different locations around Scotland, The Warrior traveled with the characters all over the place. It helped keep the story moving by showing what was taking place in multiple locations and by physically moving the characters to the beat of the plot.

Despite being rather predictable, The Warrior was a nice historical romance. I didn’t love it, but it was above average. I’ll be reading the concluding book, The Chieftain, when it is released in February 2013.


Review: Claimed by the Highlander by Julianne MacLean

8 Oct

3 out of 5 scoopers

Claimed by the Highlander by Julianne MacLean
St. Martin’s (Reissued-August 2012)
Mass market: $4.99; ebook: $4.99
ISBN: 9781250016270

Favorite Lines: “Sometimes, I need you so bad, I just want to drop my sword in the middle of a training exercise and leave the men to their own devices, so I can take you to bed. But when I think about you coming to any harm, I want to pick up my sword again. You pull me in two directions, lass” (p. 170-1)

With his tawny mane, battle-hewn brawn, and ferocious roar, Angus “The Lion” MacDonald is the most fearsome warrior Lady Gwendolen has ever seen—and she is his most glorious conquest. Captured in a surprise attack on her father’s castle, Gwendolen is now forced to share her bed with the man who defeated her clan. But, in spite of Angus’s overpowering charms, she refuses to surrender her innocence without a fight…

With her stunning beauty, bold defiance, and brazen smile, Gwendolen is the most infuriating woman Angus has ever known—and the most intoxicating. Forcing her to become his bride will unite their two clans as one. But conquering Gwendolen’s heart will take all his skills as a lover. Night after night, his touch sets her on fire. Kiss after kiss, his hunger fuels her passion. But, as Gwendolen’s body betrays her growing love for Angus, a secret enemy plots to betray them both…

Claimed by the Highlander is the second book in Julianne MacLean’s re-issued Highlander trilogy. It’s told in the third person and set in 1718 in the Scottish highlands. Featuring an alpha warrior, Claimed by the Highlander is about the prodigal son returning home and finding redemption and love.He finds it with an innocent but feisty heroine who happens to be the daughter of the man who killed his father.

Gwendolen is a lot smarter than I initially gave her credit for being. She wanted to fight, but soon realized there was another way to get what she wanted. For the most part she didn’t try to be sneaky or self-serving. She went with the flow and just went after what she wanted–love. It isn’t easy because she seems to have been paired with a man with a stone instead of a heart.

Angus warmed up to Gwendolen before the midpoint of the story. He’s a man who rarely lowers his guard, but when he does it’s magnificent. Unfortunately Angus is just as quick to raise his guard which is frustrating. Happy moments aren’t as pleasant because he’s wondering when a blow is going to strike out at him. I wanted Gwendolen to make him suffer or be spiteful, but she isn’t me.  She stayed true to character which made the happily ever after factor real. I believe that the hero and heroine are the perfect match because they fit together. They know, understand and respect each other by the end of the tale.

Claimed by the Highlander was initially published in March of 2011. It was repackaged, along with the rest of the trilogy, at a cheaper price and released in the fall of 2012. Its passion filled pages made the romance an enjoyable read. I’m not sure I’d have enjoyed it as much if I’d read book one-Captured by the Highlander-in which the hero betrays his best friend. But that’s a moot point, as I didn’t read that book.

This book is a solid romance. It isn’t my favorite, but it isn’t the worst I’ve read either. I recommend Claimed by the Highlander to those in need of a historical Scottish romance. It’s not action packed, but it is filled with lust which turns into love in the highlands.

Review: Temptation in a Kilt by Victoria Roberts

27 Aug

Temptation in a Kilt by Victoria Roberts
Sourcebooks (Sept. 1, 2012)
Mass Market: $6.99; ebook: $6.99
ISBN: 9781402270062

Favorite Lines: “Suddenly anxious to escape from his disturbing presence, she spoke hastily. “Pray excuse me. I believe my monthly courses have arrived.” Pulling herself to her feet, she bit her lip to keep from crying out in pain. Holding her ribs, she walked stiffly into the trees. She was running out of diversions.

Did she actually tell him her monthly courses had arrived? She was at a loss for what to say and had to think of something quickly so she spoke the first words that came to mind. That tactic usually worked on James. In fact, it would stop him dead in his tacks and he would always stop questioning her if she broached the subject. She could never understand why men were so adverse to womanly nature. They had no trouble bedding women, but mention a woman’s time or birthing…” (p. 42, e-galley)

She’s On Her Way to Safety

It’s a sign of Lady Rosalia Armstrong’s desperation that she’s seeking refuge in a place as rugged and challenging as the Scottish Highlands. She doesn’t care about hardship and discomfort, if only she can become master of her own life. Laird Ciaran MacGregor, however, is completely beyond her control…

He Redefines Dangerous…

Ciaran MacGregor knows it’s perilous to get embroiled with a fiery Lowland lass, especially one as headstrong as Rosalia. Having made a rash promise to escort her all the way to Glengarry, now he’s stuck with her, even though she challenges his legendary prowess at every opportunity. When temptation reaches its peak, he’ll be ready to show her how he really is…on and off the battlefield.

Temptation in a Kilt is a book that made me verra, verra happy. It’s exactly what comes to mind when I think historical Scottish romance. It’s set in 1603 and begins in England but quickly travels to Scotland.

I liked the story as soon as it began, but it was when the heroine showed her spunky behavior that I knew Victoria Roberts is an author to follow. The heroine, Rosalia, is running from abusive parents and an arranged marriage. She has been beaten mentally and physically her entire life. She is a virgin and verges on perfect, but that never bothered me. She is kind and “real.” She isn’t looking for a knight in shining armor. Thankfully a Highlander wearing a kilt decided she needed him.

Ciaran is the alpha stuck with a fulfilling a promise to his dying father. He agreed to ensure his youngest brother become a steadfast man instead of the drunkard and womanizer he has turned out to be. Until his brother is settled he feels that he cannot be happy in a marital relationship.This is a major roadblock for his deepening feelings for Rosalia because he feels that his own future must stay on the back burner until his brother mans up.

Temptation in a Kilt will make you smile as you watch Rosalia and Ciaran dance around their burgeoning romance. There is no sex and had there been–it would have been gratuitous. There is plenty of sexual attraction and it’s shown by the intimate situations and touches, as well as the heat generated by the glimpses of nudity that are shown. The danger to the couple comes from more than one source, which added drama to the love story.

My only complaint–it’s very minor–has to deal with the heroine’s family situation. Her parents seem to take a back burner and when they pop back into the picture it’s only to be told about them by secondary characters. I can live with it, but it seems anticlimactic. Also, we are told early on that there was an unknown reason why Rosalia’s father and grandmother didn’t speak which is never explored to my satisfaction.

I hope that book two in Roberts’ Bad Boys of the Highlands series will be about Rosalia’s cousin and will address the reasons why Rosalia’s father bailed on his family in favor of his English wife’s wishes. Yes, I will be reading it.

Review: A Perfect Knight for Love by Jackie Ivie

23 Aug

A Perfect Knight for Love by Jackie Ivie
Kensington (Sept. 4, 2012)
Mass market: $6.99; ebook: $5.99
ISBN: 9781420124002

Favorite Lines: “I ask her to assist me…she disobeys. I doona’ want an argue…but that’s all she does! I beg her na’ to make me chase her. What does she do? Ignores it! She does na’ obey the least thing! Blast you, wife! And your bonny frame!” (p. 195, ARC)

A Man Of Misfortune With his reckless, drunken brother bringing ruin to the clan, and the lass he’s loved all his life in the clutches of a violent husband, the last thing Thayne MacGowan needs is a spirited, sharp-tongued damsel to contend with—no matter how enticing she may be…

A Woman With A Secret

Having narrowly escaped an objectionable arranged marriage, Amalie is starting a new life—with a new identity. But her freedom is cut short when a surly but irresistibly handsome Highlander is forced to take her as his bride. If only he knew who she really was…

An Unlikely Love

Fate designs an improbable match, and a battle of wills ensues. As Amalie struggles to protect her identity, Thayne finds himself fighting for an unexpected love—and a passion neither can refuse…

Jackie Ivie is not a new name in the historical romance genre, but I can’t say I’ve really sought her out. After reading A Perfect Knight for Love I will keep my eyes open for more of her work.

Set 1689 Scotland, A Perfect Knight for Love introduces us to a woman running from a prearranged marriage. Amalie is semi-sheltered, open-minded and hard-working. She is practical, stubborn and. Sometimes her characteristics seem at odd with one another which makes her more realistic. I can’t say I loved her, but I did enjoy her for the most part. Amalie is unfortunate enough to get caught between two clashing clans.

Thayne, the hero, is a handsome man and not the head of his clan. He is, however, the man the clan looks to in all matters. See his brother, the leader of the clan, has issues. (I’m not going to tell you what exactly to avoid spoiling the story.) Thayne walks a tight wire trying to protect all around him, but when the woman he loved as a young man needed his assistance he dropped everything and rode to her aid. It wasn’t long before he was blind-sided by circumstances which led to his being with Amalie.

A Perfect Knight for Love is a book of battles. Not just the battle between clans, but that between man and woman, parent and child and individual verses self. It is somewhat predictable, but in that lay some of its charm. I knew that I’d read a story about a heroine who faces adversity only to get her Scottish laird in the end.

The beginning of the story is exciting. I couldn’t wait to see where Ivie took the couple. Unfortunately, that seemed to be the high point of the book. The story kept moving as the characters traveled and the couple got to know one another, but I never reached the level of excitement I started with. I pretty much knew what was going to happen every time a situation occurred. That took a little from my enjoyment of the story which is why I rated it 3.5 on GoodReads.

A Perfect Knight for Love is a good book. I’m not gushing over it, but I might read it again when I’m feining for a historical Scottish romance. It’s action packed, features a romance which knocked the hero off his feet and ends with a happily ever after. Most importantly, it’s a pleasant read with just the right amount darkness to prevent the book from being either a fluff or heavy read.

Review: The Warrior Laird by Margo Maguire

25 Jul

The Warrior Laird by Margo Maguire
HarperCollins/AVON (July 31, 2012)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $4.99
ISBN: 9780062122889

Favorite Lines: “You are a beautiful lady who deserves a man of means who will take you to wife. Not a rogue who lost his head for a moment here in the moonlight. And so I do apologize, though I will ever regret the experience.” (p. 37, egalley)

Haunted by horrors of his childhood, Dugan MacMillan has sworn to protect his clan at any cost . . . even if he must search for a rumored treasure and kidnap a beautiful thief to do it.

The MacMillan laird has never crossed paths with anyone quite like Lady Maura Duncanson. After he saved her from certain death, the comely vixen had the audacity to disappear with his treasure map, his only key to restoring his clan. Dugan has no qualms about taking Maura hostage, especially when he learns she is to wed a wealthy old baron who will pay him a fortune in ransom . . . a fortune his people desperately need.

But, of course, Maura has no intention of returning to her despicable fiance. And the longer Dugan spends in the bewitching hellion’s presence, the less willing he is to surrender her to any man . . . at any price.

If you enjoy classic Scottish romance novels The Warrior Laird is the book for you. It takes a damsel determined to save herself and her little sister and pairs her with a laird who is just as determined to save his clan. The two battle their attraction for one another while on a treasure hunt which takes them across Scotland.

Maura comes from a vindictive family which wants to forget she ever existed. Her family is greedy though and offers her in marriage to a dirty old man. Dugan is the head of a clan which was demolished by Maura’s family. He just wants enough money to buy the land his clan is currently renting. His clan’s needs must come before his personal desires, just as Maura places her baby sister’s needs before her own wants.

The Warrior Laird is a slow burning romance with a dose of lust thrown in. It isn’t an instant jump into bed book, or I saw you across the room and knew I loved you story. Sure there’s instant attraction/curiosity between the hero and heroine, but there is no unbelievable interaction early on in the book to turn me off. It’s a good book for one of those days when you’re craving a historical romance set in Scotland.

Review: Tempted by the Highland Warrior by Michelle Willingham

1 Jul

Tempted by the Highlander by Michelle Willingham
Harlequin (June 19, 2012)
Mass Market: $6.25; ebook: $5.99
ISBN: 9780373296989

Favorite Lines: “Marguerite was the one person who had never treated him as if he were weak-minded or less than whole. in her eyes, he had been the warrior he wanted to be.” (p. 70, e-galley)

Love the cover!


After years of brutal torture, Callum MacKinloch is finally free of his captors—but his voice is still held prisoner. He’d never let anyone hear him scream. Although Lady Marguerite de Montpierre’s chains may be invisible, they threaten to tie her to a loveless and cruel marriage.

When Marguerite discovers Callum waiting to die, her heart aches for the warrior beneath the suffering—but
they can have no future. Yet she is the one woman with the power to tame the rage locked inside him. Maybe he can find another reason to live…for her.

The MacKinloch Clan:  Highland warriors prepared to fight fiercely for their country…and for love

Tempted by the Highland Warrior is a star-crossed lovers, historical romance set in 1305 Scotland. There’s the poor enslaved Highlander and the rich Noblewoman who wants him, but is promised in marriage to a wealthy nobleman. She is innocent and empathetic to everyone to the point that she is afraid to grab happiness for herself. This is understandable when the period of time is considered. It frustrated me because at times it felt like she’d never risk it all for the man she loved.

Callum had such a raw deal that I needed him to get whatever made him happy. He has a strong desire to better himself and profess his love for the woman who unknowingly became his lifeline. He was quick witted and devoted. A worthy hero. (I kept wondering about his “smooth” skills. He couldn’t do a lot because he was a prisoner, but he knew what to do with a pretty woman. lol)

Tempted by the Highland Warrior  takes the reader on a journey with the characters and across the country. Both Callum and Marguerite had growing up to do before the reader could believe in their happily ever after. By the time the story ends, they’ve matured and become vocal advocates for themselves. The story managed to convey tons of emotion by the hero’s actions, instead of his words. His inability sometimes felt like a disability to him, but in reality–when it came to the girl–it had little effect. She saw love in his heart that had nothing to do with pretty words he may have wanted to spout.

Tempted by the Highland Warrior is book three in Willingham’s MacKinloch Clan series and can be read as a stand alone.

Review: Highland Avenger by Hannah Howell

18 May

Highland Avenger by Hannah Howell
Kennsington (April 2012)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $6.99
ISBN: 9781420118797

Favorite Lines: “Explanations were needed but Arianna heartily wished she did not have to give them. It meant revealing her humiliation, her shame. Unfortunately, the man not only deserved the answers he wanted, he might need them to better protect her and the children. She had learned enough from her family, and from ruling over her husband’s lands as he spent much of his time dallying with another woman, to know that even the smallest piece of information could make a difference between life and death.” (p. 29, ARC)

Once, Arianna Murray Lucette believed she’d met the man she could always rely on. She was wrong. Now she is fleeing for her life, and when her enemies attack a ship bound for her only refuge, she believes all hope is lost. Until she awakens on Scotland’s shore to a pair of the most entrancing blue eyes she has ever seen.

When Sir Brian MacFingal first spots the sun-streaked beauty on the beach, he mistakes her for dead. Soon, however, he discovers a woman more full of life and vitality than he ever dreamed possible. But though he knows he is fit to defend her life–even at risk of losing his own–can such a raw warrior as he ever be worthy of her love?

I am a Hannah Howell fan. Granted I enjoy her early books best, but I always seem to pick up Howell’s newest releases. That said, I appreciate her attempt to take the Murray series in different directions while maintaining the premise of two people falling in love in Scotland. However, I didn’t love Highland Avenger the way I thought I would. I liked it, but I won’t re-read it.

The heroine (Arianna) has been verbally and emotionally beaten down by her “false” husband for five years. He is now dead, but his family wants his bastard children killed and she refuses to let that happen. When each boy was born, her husband gave the child to Arianna for her to raise. Arianna’s desire to save the children carries her away from France and back to her Scottish home.

In Scotland she lucks out and is found by allies of her clan. One of those allies makes her feel warm, gooey…and safe. He helps her rebuild her confidence in herself and a bond slowly forms. But she is a Lady and he is a poor man. Can Arianna help Brian realize that love can be found in many places and is worth fighting for?

The cover art is magnificent; it’s striking and I love looking at it. Too bad the 18th book in Howell’s Murray series was so-so. Highland Avenger gave me a couple and created a happily ever after for them. It never managed to excite me or make me feel any connection with the characters. As a matter of fact what I remember most is getting  irritated at the number of times I was told about the verbal abuse the heroine suffered. The hero keeps reminding her that it’s not her fault that she feels different ways or put up with X Y and Z, because her husband used words to keep her down. I get that it’s an important aspect of the story, but I feel like I was beat over the head with the information.

Hero and Heroine: Brian is a likeable hero who comes across as the “boy next door.” Despite his handsome face and built body, he is very average. He has a calm disposition and is knowledgeable about women–pleasing them and understanding their moods. I kind of think of him as the man who a girl overlooks for the bad boy or the alpha male. It’s not to say that the alpha is better, but he’s more exciting. In this case, Brian is just the type of man Arianna needs. Arianna did nothing for me. I felt absolutely zero for her. I didn’t wish her ill. She was more of a place holder for me.

Review: The Highlander’s Prize by Mary Wine

27 Mar

The Highlander’s Prize by Mary Wine
Sourcebooks (April 3, 2012)
Mass Market: $6.99; ebook: $6.99
ISBN: 9781402264719

Favorite Lines: “Maybe in France a weakling could wear the crown, but Broen was a Highlander and he’d never kneel in front of a king who wouldn’t keep his country united. Or any Scot who would buy himself a bastard daughter of the late king of England.” (p. 9, egalley)


Sent to Scotland to be the king’s mistress and produce an heir, Clarrisa of York has never needed a miracle more. But the brusque Highland laird who kidnaps her is a bit too rough to be considered divine intervention.


With rival lairds determined to steal Clarrisa from him and royal henchmen searching for her all over the Highlands, Laird Broen MacNicols has a mess on his hands. Worse yet, there’s a magnetic attraction between them, although he’s betrothed to another. But even an independent–minded lady like Clarrisa knows that a Highlander always claims his prize…

The Highlander’s Prize is a throwback to the classic highland romance stories I’ve always loved.  I’m not big on political romances, but in this case it worked. The heroine, Clarrisa has been raised to be a pawn. She knows that is her lot in life and longs to escape. She has just been given to the king of Scotland to be his mistress and is trying to outwit him when she is kidnapped by highland lairds. One of those lairds is Broen.

Broen is strong and determined. He never forgets his duty to his people as he warms to Clarrisa. But their relationship is hindered by the political machinations of all who surround them. Most of the secondary characters have agendas that rely on using Clarrisa as a pawn or getting rid of the possibility of Clarrisa being used as  a pawn. From castle to battlefield, The Highlander’s Prize introduces characters I want to know more about. So why aren’t I raving about it?

It isn’t anything new. It’s the warm comfy blanket you wrap around you in the winter; it’s familiar. That’s not bad, but it isn’t the “I’ll always come back to you” type of comfort. Read The Highlander’s Prize if you are looking for a straight-up Scottish Highlander romance. You’ll find betrayal, lust and a happily ever after.

Review: Never Seduce A Scoundrel by Heather Grothaus

2 Mar

Never Seduce a Scoundrel by Heather Grothaus
Kennsington (March 6, 2012)
Mass Market: $6.99; ebook: $5.99
ISBN: 9781420112436

Favorite Lines: “The old ring of standing stones at the crumbling Foxe ruin was rumored to be a magic place. Men and women throughout the land had used the mysterious circle for generations in order to find a mate. The legend was unlikely, yes, but Alys had gone, and Piers had found her in the midst of a very unlikely set of circumstances. Perhaps…perhaps Hallowshire wasn’t Cecily’s true vocation, which might explain her sudden, fierce reluctance. Perhaps she, too, should visit the Foxe Ring. Perhaps–” (p. 15, ARC)

Even a cloistered young heiress in medieval England has her reckless moments. . .

Lord Oliver Bellecote has a way of bringing out the vixen in any woman. Any woman, that is, but Cecily Foxe, an innocent flower destined for the abbey who seems utterly immune to his charms. Or so he believes until the night they accidentally meet in the pagan ruins of Foxe Ring, and Oliver discovers that “Saint Cecily” is actually as tempting as sin. . .

Cecily would like nothing more than to forget her night of heated passion with the dangerously handsome Lord Bellecote. But denial proves quite impossible when she is charged with tending his every need during his stay at Fallstowe Castle. For only in his arms does she feel truly alive, despite the deadly secrets that surround his past—and threaten their tenuous future. . .

Before commenting on the actual story I need to address the cover. The cover made me think I was picking up book with Scottish lairds. I know the back of the book never stated Scotland, but with that plaid I assumed Scotland would be worked into the story. It is not. I kind of feel tricked.

Never Seduce a Scoundrel is book two in Grothaus’ Foxe sister’s trilogy. The main characters from book one, Alys and Piers, make cameo appearances. Despite never reading Never Kiss a Stranger–book one–I got the gist of it with the bits and pieces Heather Grothaus included in Never Seduce a Scoundrel. Grothaus has created a story set in medieval England (in the year 1277) with a hint of the paranormal. It doesn’t involve zombies, vampires or werewolves, but it does involve the unexplainable.

Lady Cecily, the heroine, is considered saintly by all around her, but at the point the reader is introduced to her she is feeling less and less saintly by the minute. She is beginning to question her decision to enter the nunnery. One of things that bothers her is her attraction to bad boy/womanizer Lord Oliver Bellecote. He runs through women like ale, but still holds Cecily’s attention though she dare not show it.

Not long after the reader is introduced to Cecily she makes a decision which is totally out of character; she gave her virginity to Lord Oliver. This was hard for me to swallow because in the 1200s the repercussions would have been deadly, her reputation would have been in the dirt. You can guess where the story goes from here. Really, don’t work to hard. It’s a normal OMG moment in a romance heroine’s life and not at all surprising.

I got to tell ya, I wasn’t taken with the hero. Oliver is a reprobate who eventually wants to become a better man for his heroine. The sad part is that he constantly acts out like a child. He is a spoiled member of the aristocracy that I often associate with Regency romance novels as opposed to those set in the medieval times. He was a reprobate who met his match with a woman who didn’t fawn at his feet. I never felt the alpha that I associate with romance books set in medieval times.

The story itself was mainly about the romance/dating dance being performed by the hero and heroine. Mixed-in were the machinations of Cecily’s older sister and the mysterious death of Oliver’s older brother. The ruthlessness of Cecily’s eldest sibling (Sybilla) was a major contrast to Cecily’s character and that of the youngest Foxe sister who came across as a weakling. (I couldn’t believe such a wimpy woman was given her own book.)

If you’re knowledgeable about women’s roles in medieval England or have the medieval England of other romance writers in your mind, you need to set it aside. Grothaus has her own take on it, and while the actions of the characters made me think of Regency England, it was still an enjoyable book. There’s action from the beginning to the happily ever after ending. The paranormal aspects are very light and the story itself is sensual. It also sets up the events for the final installment of the trilogy–Sybilla Foxe’s story. While I won’t be re-reading Never Seduce a Scoundrel, there was nothing that makes me say, “don’t read this.” It’s one of those books you borrow from the library or a friend.

Review: The Devil of Jedburgh by Claire Robyns

10 Feb

The Devil of Jedburgh by Claire Robyns
Carina Press (Feb. 6, 2012)
ebook: $5.99 (95,000 words)
ISBN: 9781426893162

Favorite Lines: “He wants to dally for a while afore choosing a more appropriate wife and I want to earn my freedom. We both win.” (p. 71, egalley)

Raised on rumours of The Devil of Jedburgh, Breghan McAllen doesn’t want an arranged marriage to the beast. The arrogant border laird is not the romantic, sophisticated husband Breghan dreams of—despite the heat he stirs within her.

In need of an heir, Arran has finally agreed to take a wife, but when he sees Breghan’s fragile beauty, he’s furious. He will not risk the life of another maiden by getting her with child. Lust prompts him to offer a compromise: necessary precautions, and handfasting for a year and a day, after which Breghan will be free. For a chance to control her own future, Breghan makes a deal with the Devil.

Passion quickly turns to love, but Arran still has no intention of keeping the lass, or making her a mother. He loves her too much to lose her. But when a treasonous plot threatens queen and country, Breghan has to prove only she is woman enough to stand by his side.

Men are convoluted thinkers and the most alpha of them all is Arran. Known as the “Devil of Jedburgh” he is a vicious fighter who will do whatever it takes to secure his family’s hold on its land, Ferniehirst. Even if it means marrying an ugly, stout woman to give birth to his sons. He’s even found the perfect woman, Breghan McAllen. Her mother had given birth to 12 sons and one daughter. Too bad for him Breghan plans to be brood mare to no man.

There were a few nail-biting moments in The Devil of Jedburgh. I was concerned with how Breghan would confront the issue between her and Arran. There really was only one way to do so, but it involved Breghan tricking her hero. In reality I hate women who do as Breghan did. Did it affect my enjoyment of the story? Yep. It lowered my opinion of Breghan and even though I know it was necessary to resolve the conflict, I found it a bit distasteful.

Before all the conflict began to be resolved I enjoyed every bit of tension. I liked watching the fiery heroine running from a future she wanted no part of and I smiled as she found a way to make peace with the idea of being a woman of her time period. I even teared up when Breghan had issues with her father. The characters are inviting and well-written. The setting is vivid. The Devil of Jedburgh is a straight up classic Scottish romance. It’s love and action rolled into a tale set in my favorite place, the highlands of Scotland.

There are political machinations (not my favorite plot line), misunderstandings and hints at a possible second book set in the same world. Overall, it’s a nice story. Again, my problem is with the sneaky, chick trick the heroine played on the hero to move the story forward toward a happily ever after. It is a dirty, underhanded thing to have done.

So now that I’ve made you want to know what she did it’s time for you to go buy the story. I don’t regret reading it and one day may read it again. After you’ve read it, come back and let me know what you think about it.